Since retiring two years ago, Vadim Ponorovsky has been enjoying the exciting and stimulating life of a roving retiree. He’s been to Mexico, Costa Rica, Italy, Spain, France, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam, immersing himself in new cultures and making new friends.
It was on a trip to the central Italian region of Abruzzo in late autumn that David and Sharyn Collins stumbled upon their new home. “We stopped in Sulmona and fell in love with it. It is one of Italy’s best-kept secrets. Sulmona is right in the centre of a valley with lots of beautiful towns, unspoiled villages, castles and wineries scattered all around it in the mountains,” the couple say.
In less than two years, Sherry Goodloe, 62, has visited England, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Finland and Bali—and savoured many memorable experiences along the way. Especially so in her favourite destination, Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, where she explored the volcanic landscape atop a camel and marvelled at ocean-life from her seat inside a yellow submarine.
Overshadowed by Venice, Padua doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Only 30 minutes by train from its famous neighbour, it has stunning Venetian-style architecture, picturesque squares, world-class museums and a relaxed atmosphere of a university town. Rents are low, prices in restaurants and bars are reasonable and you can enjoy the ancient streets in peace without selfie-snapping tourists getting in your way.
On my many visits to Venice I have learnt that there are two cities: one is overrun by throngs of camera-clicking tourists and the other one is quiet with empty squares (called “campi”) and locals going on about their daily business. Guess which one I prefer? Getting lost in narrow lanes and crossing hundreds of bridges, I have discovered some of the best spots and views of the city, without the maddening crowds and astronomical prices.
In the morning, I like to take in the view from my balcony: To the south, I have the majestic, snow-capped peaks of the central Apennines, to the east, a turquoise stretch of the Adriatic Sea. And in between, olive groves, green meadows and picturesque hilltop towns...
Elegant palaces, spacious squares, historic monuments, grand historic cafes with marble tables and gilt-framed mirrors, excellent restaurant serving delicious local dishes… This is Turin, the capital of the northern Italian region Piedmont...
In 2012 Benjamin North Spencer and Nadine Guarrera Spencer, both 41, moved to the historic, coastal town of Riposto. Here, the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean are just a short stroll away, while Mount Etna, Sicily’s active volcano, provides a magnificent backdrop.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, Piazza Garibaldi, the central square in the small Italian town of Sulmona, fills up with stands selling fresh farm produce, antiques, flowers, kitchen wear, baskets, clothes and artisan furniture. The setting of the weekly market is stunning: A large Baroque fountain in the middle of the old square, ancient noble palaces around it, the 12th-century medieval aqueduct and the snow-capped mountains as a backdrop. I feel lucky to live near Sulmona and visit it as often as I can.
The other day I brought a visiting friend to a local restaurant, Il Tholos, in the small mountain village where I live in Abruzzo. It’s renowned for its excellent food made with locally grown ingredients from the owners’ farm. We ordered a degustation menu to sample all the typical dishes of the area. After getting through seven appetizers, we were faced with a generously piled up serving plate of pasta alla chitarra. “Is this just for the two of us?” gasped my friend sipping excellent local red wine, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which paired perfectly with the robust hearty food.